Friday 12 August 2011

Delving into Dagenham Dock [4]

East London Transit Arrives ...
all change at Bastable Avenue.
Buses to Bastable Avenue Barking had a real identity crisis. In 1958 you would catch the 23B ...
And, as the estate expanded, it was the 179 in 1963, joined by the 199; 
then the 169 in 1982; then the B2 from 1991 to 1993 until the present number 369 was used. Here is a clutch of 369s at the Abridge Way terminus photographed in late 2009.
But, changes were afoot to provide a top-of-the-range public transport service to areas being massively redeveloped.
After many promises, the new "East London Transit" was unveiled in February 2010, and it was to be ...
... a bus service! In fact the 369 was renumbered EL1 and part of the service was extended to Dagenham Dock and numbered EL2. Spiffing new buses were provided in a livery that was decidedly not Transport for London's compulsory "red-all-over".
Why different numbers? Who knows? Some of the policies of Transport for London are mysterious in the extreme. As well as shiny new environmentally superior vehicles, there would be new shelters and bus lane priorities all over the place.
In the above construction the buses stop on their own bit of road in the middle of the oval-about, leaving the passengers to dice with the ordinary traffic whizzing round the outside as they cross to the stops. At least, that's what the plans showed. Now there's an improvement!

But it was still a conventional bus and not one of the super-duper ideas originally suggested. So let fbb take you for a ride beyond Thames View, along the route of the EL2. It does pass some new housing at the Barking end of Choats Road ...
but very soon sets off into an area of nothingness ... 
... providing a 12 minute frequency for waiting electricity pylons; until it reaches the Dagenham Dock industrial area, where huge, and largely silent, warehouses provide little custom for the high-spec double deck vehicles. Choats Road was built in the early 90s [date to be checked] as part of providing access to the new Barking Reach power station.
On the way, and to provide the necessary bus priorities, a smashing bus lane has been built ...
... in the middle of the road and in the middle of nowhere!

In episode 5 we shall arrive at the terminus of the EL2, enjoy the lavish facilities there; and, as a special treat, look at the publicity for the route. A feast of delights is in store for us all.
Geoff Amos,operator of the trunk route between
Banbury and Rugby (GA01) has ceased trading.
Another one gone and a sign of the times?
Stagecoach operating the route pro tem.
Next blog : due Saturday August 13th
  Dagenham Dock [5] due on Monday   

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